Sunday, January 30, 2011

The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials

Dr. Bob and Bill W. both made the point that the Book of James in the Bible was a favorite in early A.A. So much so, Bill said, that the early AAs wanted to call their book and their program "The James Club."

Even more significant, Dr. Bob frequently stated--also in his last major speech to AAs as set forth in A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet P-53--that the early AAs believed the answer to their problems was in the Bible. He added that the parts considered "absolutely essential" were the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. He said further that the basic ideas for the Twelve Steps came from their study and effort in the Bible.
He usually referred to the Bible as the "Good Book."

Both Bill W. and Dr. Bob stated that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.

And Bill is quoted by one historian as "favoring" "Corinthians. Dr. Bob went much further. He strongly recommended Henry Drummond's book, The Greatest Thing in the World, which was a study of 1 Corinthians 13.

The clear-cut link between the three Bible segments and A.A. is studied, set forth, and documented in my book The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials. www.dickb.comJamesClub.shtml.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A.A. History Brief: The Bible in the Big Book

A.A. History Brief: The Bible in the Big Book
Dick B.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Dr. Robert H. Smith was the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He is affectionately called Dr. Bob by many AAs.

Dr. Bob had much to say about the Bible in his talks with and to the more than 5000 alcoholics he helped in Akron, where A.A. was founded. Perhaps the most important thing he said about Alcoholics Anonymous and the Bible was that the basic ideas for the Twelve Steps of A.A. came from the study and effort in the Bible by the early AAs. Dr. Bob particularly emphasized the importance of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7), the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. These remarks were made in Dr. Bob's last major speech to AAs at Detroit in 1948. They are contained in A.A. General Service Conference Approved Pamphlet P-53.

Today, decades after the founding of A.A. in 1935, the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous, affectionately called the "Big Book," still contains a great many direct quotes from the King James Version of the Bible that the early AAs did use and study.

Referring to Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001), we point the reader to the following direct quotes in the A.A. Big Book and in the Bible verses from which these words and phrases were taken:

"God" - There are more than 200 references in the Big Book to the word "God" with a capital "G." And see Genesis 1:1

"Creator" - The word "Creator" can be found in Ecclesiastes 12:1, Isaiah 43:15, Romans 1:25, and 1 Peter 4:19. The same capitalized word "Creator" can be found on the following pages of the Big Book - 13, 25, 28, 56, 68, 72, 75, 76, 80, 83, 158, 161.

"Maker" - The word "Maker" can be found in Psalm 95:6 and in the Big Book - 57, 63.

"Father" - The word "Father" can be found in Matthew 5:45 and in the Big Book - 62

"Father of Light" - This phrase "Father of Light" is rendered "Father of lights" in James 1:17 and can be found in the Big Book at page 14.

"Spirit" - The word "Spirit" can be found in John 4:24 and in the Big Book at page 84.

"Heavenly Father" - This phrase "Heavenly Father" can be found in Matthew 6:32 and in the last line of Dr. Bob's personal story on page 181 of the Big Book.

"God is" - This statement can be found in Hebrews 11:6. Page 53 of the Big Book states
" God either is, or He isn't."

"Thy will be done" - In a prayer given by Jesus in Matthew 6:10, the phrase "Thy will be done" can be found in Matthew 6:10; and the phrase is quoted in Big Book - pages 67, 88.

"Thy will (not mine) be done" - Luke 22:42 renders it, "nevertheless not my will, but thine be done" and the Big Book uses the expression at page 85.

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" - This command can be found in Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8. It is also quoted in the Big Book at page 153.

"Faith without works is dead" - This comes from James 2:20, 26; and it is quoted in the Big Book at pages 76, 88, and referred to on page 14.

There are many other biblical words, expressions, and slogans in the Big Book that relate to Bible words and phraes; and these are discussed in my definitive title cited below. Other A.A. General Service Conference-approved books and pamphlets contain additional biblical words and phrases.


Dick B., The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible, Bridge Builders ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications. Inc., 1997), 49-53, 81-91

Gloria Deo

Friday, January 21, 2011

A.A. History Brief: Oxford Group Principles

A.A. History Brief: Oxford Group Principles

By Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

What the Oxford Group Principles Were

Many within and without the Oxford Group have endeavored to describe the principles of the Oxford Group. One Australian Oxford Group writer spoke of eight principles of the Group. Bill Wilson sometimes spoke of six “Steps” of the Oxford Group. But the idea that the Oxford Group had any “Steps”—let alone six—was dispelled by Oxford Group historian and activist T. Willard Hunter. And repudiation of this idea was finally publicized in A.A.’s own “Pass It On” (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 206 n.2.

Undaunted, Bill Wilson’s wife Lois spoke of some six “ideas.” Then one writer called on an anonymously-authored book by a non-Oxford Group writer and deduced that there were “four principles” and “four practices.” Finally, when I wrote my title, The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works (now in its third edition), I set forth some 28 ideas of the Oxford Group that had impacted on Alcoholics Anonymous. And this book and its view received the endorsement of a large number of experienced Oxford Group writers and optimists.

But history has also made possible a very explicit statement of the real Oxford Group “Principles,” as the Group people themselves characterized them. First, in the early 1920’s, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, “a chief lieutenant” of the Oxford Group in America, asked his long-time friend (who was also a long-time associate of Oxford Group Founder Dr. Frank Buchman) to write a statement of the ideas. They were seven in number.

Accordingly, Shoemaker’s friend, Sherwood Sunderland Day, penned a short pamphlet, titled The Principles of the Group (Oxford, University Press, n.d.). Years later, Rev. Sam Shoemaker’s assistant minister, Rev. W. Irving Harris, wrote that Bill Wilson was familiar with those principles when he (Bill) later discussed formulation of the Twelve Steps with Rev. Shoemaker. Harris then summarized Sherwood Day’s seven Oxford Group principles in slightly-different language.

Actually, Dr. Bob’s wife, Anne Ripley Smith, discussed those seven Sherry Day principles in the personal journal she kept from 1933-1939, and also shared with early AAs and their families.

Comments about the Background and Words of Rev. Sherwood Day

First, the Oxford Group probably was founded about 1919 when Dr. Frank Buchman (its founder), Buchman’s mentor Professor Henry Wright, and Howard A. Walter collaborated to write what was the first Oxford Group book—Soul Surgery. Shortly thereafter, Frank Buchman gathered around him an informal group of young supporters who would join him in traveling about the world. Sam Shoemaker was one of the men. Sherry Day was another. And, though this group of men had no formal name, they called themselves “A First Century Christian Fellowship.” It was in this period that Buchman’s ideas—gathered through the years before—had become known to his “Fellowship” members.

Sherwood Sunderland Day’s The Principles of the Group

Sherwood Day began his pamphlet with the statement that the principles of the Oxford Group were the principles of the Bible. The statement and the principles are discussed and annotated accurately in Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed. Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998), 129-32.

Day said: “It is never possible to find Life—peace with God—victory—power by merely trying to follow out principle.” He said: “That life comes to one as a possession through but one gateway—a personal experience of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.” He said further that the Oxford Group was a life—that life which is hid in Christ with God; and that the following principles are revelations or pictures of what is bound to take place in any life that is surrendered to the Will of God (Dick B., Anne Smith, 130).

Day then set forth the following seven biblical principles—the principles of the Oxford Group:

God-guidance. Day said “guidance” meant “communion with our Father, the Living God . . . listening to God . . . two-way prayer . . . thinking God’s thoughts after Him” (Dick B., Anne Smith, 130).

Fearless dealing with sin. Day said: “The great fact of history is Jesus Christ, the second is the presence of sin.” He said the Bible frankly faces the fact of sin and offers a cure. He said Jesus Christ faced men honestly and fearlessly, gave them courage to do the same with themselves, and then showed them the way out (Dick B., Anne Smith, 130).

Sharing: Day said: “A sharing Christian is a propagating Christian.” He said: “sharing,” as used by the Group, covered two distinct things: (1) confession, and (2) witness. Quoting James 5:16, Day said it was necessary to “confess your faults one to another.” He then said sharing, or witnessing, was necessary in helping others. It established confidence because the person confessed to know that the confessor had been through a like experience (Dick B., Anne Smith, 131).

The necessity for adequate, intelligent, expressional activity. Day urged: “a God-guided, released life with constant outgo into the lives of needy people” (Dick B., Anne Smith, 131).

Stewardship. Day pointed out “that He who bought us with a price owns us and all that He has entrusted to us. On such a basis, houses, lands, money, things, relationships, gifts, all that we are and have, made up a trust which we are to administer” (Dick B., Anne Smith, 131).

Team-work. Day said Jesus Christ believed in team work. He gathered a small group about him and set the example for all his followers in this respect Dick B., Anne Smith, 131).

Loyalty. Day said: The supreme loyalty in life should be to Jesus Christ, but . . . the person or group of persons embodying for us the highest challenge we know, the person or persons that have been used to reveal Jesus Christ to us are persons and groups which demand our loyalty” Dick B., Anne Smith, 131-32).


Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: a Life (London: Constable, 1985)
Sherwood Sunderland Day, The Principles of the Group (Oxford: University Press, n.d.)
Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living that Works, new
rev ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998)
Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., Pittsburgh ed. (Kihei,
HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1999)
Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998)

Gloria Deo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A.A. History Brief: Oxford Group

A.A. History Brief: Oxford Group
Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Where My Oxford Group Evidence Came From

As soon as I learned that the Oxford Group was a major source of A.A. ideas, I began going directly to its own literature to see exactly what the program was and how it might relate to
Alcoholics Anonymous.

I was able to befriend and communicate with a large number of Oxford Group leaders, activists, and writers. These included Garth Lean, Frank Buchman’s biographer. Dr. Morris Martin—Frank Buchman’s personal secretary. Also James Draper Newton and his wife Eleanor Napier Forde (Newton)—long-time activists and personal friends of Frank Buchman and Rev. Sam Shoemaker. Kenneth Belden, Michael Hutchinson, and R.C. Mowat in Great Britain. Richard Ruffin—MRA Executive Director in America. Harry Almond, Ruffin’s predecessor. George Vondermuhll, Jr., Treasurer of MRA in America. T. Willard Hunter—long-time Oxford Group employee and writer. Mrs. W. Irving Harris—who was (with her husband) an activist and a keeper of the book stall for the Oxford Group in Calvary House. The entire Shoemaker family—Mrs. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Sally Robinson Shoemaker, and Nickie Haggart Shoemaker. L. Parks Shipley, Sr., Richard Hadden, Michael Henderson, James Houck, and Frederick Watt.

This array of well-informed Oxford Group people furnished me with many references, books, articles, magazines, and films—as well as a great many personal recollections. I purchased many Oxford Group books and articles. I was given many by the foregoing people. And then came the opportunity and time to obtain almost every piece of Oxford Group material that existed in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

From the following, I either acquired all of their Oxford Group literature or important items I did not already have. The number of books, articles, pamphlets, magazines, manuscripts, pieces of correspondence, and other relevant items exceeded 25,000. These came, in large part, from:

George Vondermuhll, Jr., of Connecticut (now deceased): his entire Oxford Group archives—some 500 items.

T. Willard Hunter, of Claremont, California (now deceased): his entire library.

James D. Newton and Eleanor Forde Newton, of Ft. Myers Beach, Florida (both now deceased): a pick of their entire collection of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and MRA books, articles, and pamphlets

Mrs. W. Irving Harris, of New Jersey (now deceased): all of the Shoemaker books and many Oxford Group pieces.

Richard Ruffin, of Washington, D.C.: many of the older Oxford Group books and pamphlets in the library of Moral Re-Armament in Washington, D.C.

Garth Lean, England (now deceased): copies of all his books.

Kenneth Belden, England (now deceased): copies of all his books.

Morris Martin: copies of his books

Dennis Wayne Cassidy (now deceased), A.A. historian and speaker: his entire library of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and relevant A.A. books, pamphlets, and pictures.

Danny Whitmore of Palmdale, California, A.A. Historian: his entire library of Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and relevant A.A. books, pamphlets, and pictures.

Where This Historical Treasure Trove Is Available Today

1. At the Griffith Library (in the house where Bill Wilson was raised), East Dorset, Vermont. Ozzie Lepper (Manager of the Wilson House) built an entire library of
A.A. historical literature and proposed calling it the Dick B. Library. While that
proposal was declined by me, I was able to have several benefactors donate sufficient
funds to ship and locate at the Griffith Library some 23,900 items.

2. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio—the church to which Dr. Bob
belonged at the time of his death, and the church of which Rev. Walter Tunks
was rector in the 1930’s. A small library containing a portion of my Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and other A.A. historical books was established through funding by a number of benefactors.

3. At Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Ohio—the last church of which Rev.
Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. was rector. A library was established in the Shoemaker
Room at the church; and two benefactors enabled all of my Shoemaker papers to
be lodged in that room.

The purpose of these libraries was to make accessible and available for viewing almost every Oxford Group and Shoemaker book and writing—all being relevant to A.A. history and important article.


Dick B., Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous: A 16-Year Research, Writing, Publishing, and Fact-Dissemination Project. 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006)

Dick B. The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, new rev. ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998)

Gloria Deo

Sunday, January 16, 2011

International Christian Recovery Coalition 2011

International Christian Recovery Coalition

Its 2011 Focus

Dick B.

We recommend that those motivated to join, participate in, and help disseminate the new Christian Recovery movement should first take a look at two of our websites which lay out the mission statement and projects underway.

The first website is International Christian Recovery Coalition. It lists our mission which is to disseminate worldwide the facts about the Christian origins, history, founding, original program, astonishing successes, and later changes in the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship founded in 1935. We believe it very clear that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played a dominant role in the beginnings of today’s recovery movement. This began in the 1800’s with the seldom-mentioned, but widely recognized successes of five Christian groups and leaders in helping drunks to get well by turning to God for help. These were the Evangelists like Dwight Moody and many others. They included the Gospel Rescue Missions, the lay workers of the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Salvation Army, and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Yet you’ll hardly find a person today that even knows what those groups did.
The International Christian Recovery Coalition website tells you several things: (1) Who the leaders of the Coalition are. (2) Who the many and growing number of participants are. (3) The details about the Coalition. (4) The new Christian Recovery Resource Centers Worldwide project. (5) And some other service still in progress. Check the short url:
You may also just google International Christian Recovery Coalition or its longer Url:

The second web page is the Christian Recovery Resource Centers – Worldwide page. The short url is You may find it on the navigation bar of its sponsor, the International Christian Recovery Coalition. And you may simply google Christian Recovery Resource Centers and find the site. This is a project just launched on January 1, 2011. It responded to an increasing number of calls to me personally from individuals all over the world. Some came by phone. Some by email. And some even through Facebook. And I personally answer all courteous email letters and phone calls. But the strife was worldwide. Mothers, sisters, uncles, wives, husbands, grandparents, friends, employers, and others called to ask where their loved ones could find Christian help. Where could they go, the asked. Who should they contact? What facilities existed on Maui? Who could help the afflicted person right now! And we established the new program the first of this year. Within three days, three major treatment and/or bridge programs had signed up and already helped. Two more are in the wings on Maui and on Oahu. And many others have expressed a desire to help and participate. This is therefore the main focus on the International Christian Recovery Coalition—to establish Christian Recovery Resource Centers Worldwide—and do it now!

You can keep in touch with our progress through my Facebook, twitter, and blog pages. And all are easily and quickly accessed through the symbols on my main website:

We welcome your joining the Coalition—no charge. We welcome your considering a role in a Christian Recovery Resource Center that fits your own capabilities and needs. And we look forward to hearing from you by phone: 808 874 4876; by email:; or by
US mail: PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837. Let us hear from you, please!

In His Service,

Dick B.
Author, 42 titles and over 500 articles onon A.A. History
Executive Director,. International Christian Recovery Coalition
Chistian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide
(808) 874-4876
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

Corrected Christian Recovery Resource URL's

If we keep listing the wrong short URL's for Christian Recovery, you may give up. OR, you could use (Coalition) and (resource centers). Hang in there. We are trying - even at age 85

Again: For International Christian Recovery Coalition:

For Christian Recovery Resource Centers:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Alcohol and/or Drug Addicted or Affected and God

In 1935, a tiny group of Christian men formed Alcoholics Anonymous as a way to overcome their seemingly hopeless, "medically incurable," problems with alcoholism. They kept their ideas simple. They quit for good. They submitted to God for help. They tried to live lives that accorded with His will. They grew in their understanding of God and His Son Jesus Christ through Bible study, prayer meetings, seeking revelation, and reading. And, having won the battle, they helped others by the same means.

Today, many Christians and Christian leaders and those addicted to alcohol and drugs are often hungry for a return to the simple and successful program of yesteryear.
Groups for counseling, treatment, sober living, Christian recovery fellowships, and Christ-centered groups are growing by the day and week and month. And we have seen it first hand.

Our message for today is very very simple:

If you are a Christian in A.A., N.A., a recovery fellowship, a Twelve Step fellowship, a church, or a Christ-centered recovery program, you may want very much to be in touch with two of our new, world-wide efforts to meet the needs of Christian leaders and others in recovery. If so:

Check International Christian Recovery Coalition site:

Check Christian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide

And contact Dick B. through for further details if you like.

That's a starting point right now. And we daily receive calls from all over the world (yesterday from Italy). They come from the addicted and those affected by alcoholism who want to know how to start. We welcome the calls. We urge that they find out more. And we try to establish Christian Recovery Resource Centers widely and just as fast as we can.

God Bless, dick B.

Friday, January 14, 2011

International Christian Recovery Coalition News

We announced that, on January 1, 2011, International Christian Recovery Coalition would launch the establishment of Christian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide.

Three days later, we announced that three resource centers had been established--Manna House Ministries in Jamestown, Tennessee; New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc. in Huntington Beach, California; and Rock Recovery Ministries--ABC Sober Living--Soledad House, in San Diego, California.

We expect have a Christian Recovery Resource Center up and running on Maui, Hawaii shortly; and we believe we will have one up and running in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the beginning of March.

Our next accomplishment was to get informative websites established for the International Christian Recovery Coalition, and we have done that. See And for the Christian Recovery Resource Centers--Worldwide. See

We have also been blessed to have two volunteer helpers at the headquarters on Maui within the next couple of weeks. One is a skilled Christian therapist who has just located on Maui. There other is a long-time community resource volunteer who will help spread the word among all the Maui recovery need areas.

We invite you to see the sparkling new logos on our two website pages. You can plug into the International Christian Recovery site by clicking into
You can plug into the Christian Recovery Resource Center page by clicking into (We will have an abbreviated version shortly)

We repeat the following invitations:

If you are a Christian leader or worker in recovery and agree with the mission statement of International Christian Recovery Coalition, you may join without charge by simply sending us your name, your ministry (if any), and your city and state. You may then use the logo ( and help spread the word.

If you wish to become a Christian Recovery Resource Center, the details and complete information and instructions for joining us can be found on that website through

The international movement toward Christian recovery programs, counseling, fellowships, sober living, and community resources is on the march. And please feel free to phone or email Dick B. by using the contact information on

In His Service, Dick B., Executive Director, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Saturday, January 08, 2011

How Christian Recovery Resource Centers Can Help You

The new Christian Recovery Resource Center program has just been in place since January 1, 2011. We have many proposed center members in the pipelines. And there are three already in operation--Rock Recovery Ministries in San Diego; Manna House Ministries in Jamestown, Tennessee; and New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc., in Huntington Beach, California.

You can find details about how these Centers operate their own programs and also serve as a resource for those asking how they or others about whom they are concerned can seek and receive God's help in recovery. Both those afflicted with, and affected by, alcoholism, drug abuse, at-risk problems, and self-destructive behavior have urgent questions. They want to know if there is a Christian treatment program, a Christian counselor, a Christian Fellowship program, or a Christ-centered group available to help. They ask: Where should I go? What's available? What should I be looking for? What about other alternatives--A.A., N.A., secular treatment, intervention, therapy, and so on.

Our new centers can be of immeasurable assistance--free of charge.

Here's how it works. Scarcely a day goes by that either a parent or concerned friend, or afflicted person doesn't phone me, write me, or email me from places all over the world.

Here's what happened this very day. A concerned family member on Maui emailed me asking if we operated a Christian treatment program on Maui. The answer, of course, is no. But their afflicted family member had seen my websites and wanted help. The concerned family member was about to depart for a city far away, to bring the suffering alcoholic to Maui, and to seek Christian help here on Maui. But the problem has to do with what's available.

When I learned the city in which the alcoholic was residing, I was able to refer the family member to one of our Christian Recovery Resource Centers. That Center is maintained by a recovery ministry in a huge Christian church. It offers Christian treatment, licensed counselors, residential quarters for women, a direct tie to a Christian church, Bible studies, Christian recovery meetings, and many local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

In other words, it was Bible friendly, history friendly, and A.A. friendly and embraces the type of highly successful "old school" Christian Fellowship program that was founded by AAs in Akron, Ohio in 1935, and that developed a solid Christian recovery program that worked.

The ministry does not trash A.A. It does not trash church. It does not trash counseling. It does not trash treatment. It does not invent false "gods" or "higher powers" or strange "spirituality." It is a nuts and bolts way for people in its area to seek God as Christians, fellowship with like-minded believers, get the support of A.A. and Christian fellowship meetings, study the Bible, and get an orientation that has a long-range reliance on the power and love of God made available through Jesus Christ and spelled out in the Bible. Moreover, it provides Christian treatment for those who need and want it.

Unhesitatingly, I referred the Maui inquirer to that Christian Recovery Resource Center. The inquirer immediately contacted the dedicated leader of the Christian Recovery Ministry in the far away city where the relative lives. The concerned family member is on his way to the city, the ministry, and the suffering alcoholic tomorrow. And solid help will be available right where the relative lives.

That is exactly how the Christian Recovery Resource Centers network, assist, refer, and bring hope to those who seek help through Jesus Christ in a burgeoning arena of secular alternatives today.

See Christian Recovery Resource Centers; and contact for further information. Aloha and God Bless, Dick B.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A.A. Number Three: Bill Dotson--Recovery by God's Power

In the last two years--after 20 years of research and digging--we have been able to put together the simple facts about how the first three AAs got sober by the power of God. The details are laid out in The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed.,

The first three were, in this order, Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and attorney Bill Dotson.

Though a few Christian A.A. critics, and others opposed to A.A. have contended that none of the early AAs was a Christian, the facts show otherwise; and we have documented them.

The important facts about these early Christian AAs have to do with the time, the way, and the process by which they got sober. All were required to declare a belief in God. All were required to declare that Jesus Christ was their Lord and Savior. And all were required to study the Bible, pray, and observe a Quiet Time. And--there were no Twelve Steps, no Twelve Traditions, no pages of a Big Book to follow, no drunkalogs to hear, and no meetings as we know them today. See our class: "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery"

How, then, did the A.A. pioneers get sober, maintain sobriety, and make new lives? The answer is that they built on the principles that the first three AAs had proved would work.

Each of the first three AAs believed in God and said so. Each of the first three AAs had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And each of the first three AAs had been involved in extensive Bible study--something not fully established until our recent books on The Conversion of Bill W. and Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous. Each of the first three AAs had turned to God for help, been cured of their malady, and so stated. See particularly pages 180-181 and 191 of the current edition of "Alcoholics Anonymous."

Now, we have a very good picture of the story concerning Akron attorney Bill Dotson--the third AA to get sober and maintain sobriety, and the first alcoholic upon whom Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith "worked" successfully.

Here is the Dotson story as we have discovered it in this month of January, 2011--particular as verified by a tape of Bill Dotson's recorded talk now being circulated.

Dotson had a seemingly hopeless battle with alcohol. By the time he met Bill and Dr. Bob, Dotson had been hospitalized for alcoholism eight times in the previous six months.

He had been a Deacon and Sunday School teacher. He and his wife were much involved in church life. He believed in God. He often referred to the Bible. And he stood on the teachings of Jesus. In fact, in his recorded talk, Dotson opened the address by praying "in the name of Jesus." Typically, Dotson had prayed a good deal, declared many times he would quit drinking, and--as he put it--drank too much, got drunk too often, and been unable to quit.

Dotson also recognized the role of the Devil in his plight. One frequent temptation from the Adversary, came, said Dotson, in the argument that if Dotson quit, he would have "no fun." As Dotson put it, the Devil was paying him lots of attention.

Finally, on his last hospitalization, Dotson's wife told him he was going to quit--something he doubted. She said that two men (Bill and Dr. Bob) had been "licked" just as he was, and that they had the same weakness that he did. She assured Dotson that these two would not accept a cent for their services

When Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob visited Dotson, they made some very simple points:

(1)They asked Dotson if he wanted to quit.

(2)They asked him if he could do it by himself.

(3)They asked him to admit he had his drinking problem.

(4)They asked him if wanted help and would ask for help.

(5)They said the action had to come from Dotson and that if he wasn't interested, they would
be on their way.

(6)Then they asked him if he believed in a "higher power." But Dotson replied emphatically
stated that he believed in God and the Bible.

(7)They told him that if he sought and received help, it would be necessary for him to help
others as well. He was told he must "take the message" to others.

(8)They told him he needed to call on God for help, and they left.

(9)In their absence, Dotson reflected and asked God for help. He was instantly cured.

(10)On the return of Bill, Dr. Bob, and Mrs. Dotson, Dotson declared he was leaving and never
drank again. The date was July 4, 1935.

Wilson declared that this date marked the founding of the first A.A. fellowship--Akron
Number One.

Both Wilson and Dotson confirmed Bill Wilson's statement that the Lord had cured him of his terrible disease and that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people (See the 4th edition of the Big Book, page 191).

When I was reviewing recorded transcripts at the A.A. General Services Office in New York, I ran across a specific statement that an early member recalled that Bill Dotson was leading one of the meetings with a Bible in his lap and reading from it. There were other accounts of early members leading meetings with a Bible.

Alcoholics Anonymous No. 3 - Bill Dotson

Coming soon will be a review of the story of A.A. Number Three--Bill Dotson.

Fortunately, Russell S. of Miama just sent a tape of a talk by Bill, and it corroborates much of what we have said about Bill and the other two AAs--Wilson and Smith.

We will be posting the review at many spots including this blog. Meanwhile, you can refresh your information about "how the first 3 AAs got sober" by reading The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed.

God Bless, Dick B.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Getting to Know More About A.A.'s Cofounder Dr. Bob

Getting To Know More About A.A. Cofounder Dr. Bob
A Visit to Bob’s Boyhood Village Where It All Began
Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Your Walk Around St. Johnsbury, Vermont
DR. BOB’S BIRTHPLACE AND BOYHOOD HOME; Begin at Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home at 297 Summer Street.
Snap a photo of yourself and Dr. Bob’s family home.
Visit the premises.
If you like, attend one of the “open” A.A. meetings held there.
NORTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, ST. JOHNSBURY: Walk to the Smith family church at 1325 Main Street--North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury.
Snap a photo of yourself and the beautiful, towering stone edifice.
Enter the church and view the ornate sanctuary.
Allow ample time to see, browse, and study the materials in the Dr. Bob Core Library, which has been graciously provided, and is maintained, by the church.
The Dr. Bob Core Library volumes will tell you, as to the church, where the family of Judge Walter P. Smith--Bob’s father--worshipped on Sunday morning, attended Sunday school that afternoon, and that evening heard preaching and united in prayers (and also attended such YMCA events, lectures, and concerts as were provided there). You will see where the church’s Christian Endeavor Society for young people held its meetings. You can read volumes of material on Christian Endeavor and on the history of Christian Endeavor in Caledonia County. You may learn the subject of the sermons, the Sunday school lessons, the Sunday prayer meetings, and the Wednesday evening prayer and Christian Endeavor meetings. You will see the extensive, varied, and reported details of the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, which transformed the town, the church, and the people of St. Johnsbury; converted hundreds to Christ and impacted on community life for decades thereafter. There is much on the history of the North Church; the role of Fairbanks family members as donors, builders, office holders, and Sunday school and mission work participants. Governor Erastus Fairbanks was a lifetime Deacon to the church. There are many records of the extensive church participation by the Smith family members (including Judge Walter P. Smith, Mrs. Susan H. Smith, Mrs. Smith’s mother, Dr. Bob, and Dr. Bob’s foster sister Amanda Northrup. There is much material to assist visitors in understanding the relevance of the church and its training to the subsequent history and program of Alcoholics Anonymous, its founders, principles, and practices. You will have an opportunity to get a greater perception of the Bible roots of the Akron Christian A.A. Fellowship. And how these Vermont roots figured largely in A.A. beginnings--with its required conversions; required reliance on God; required five elements of recovery; weekly and almost daily “old fashioned prayer meetings;” stress on reading of the Bible privately and at meetings; stress on cultivation of the habit of prayer; regular seeking of God’s guidance; Quiet Time, the use of devotionals, and frequent reading of Christian literature; and persistent and continuing personal work in love and service to provide free help to new alcoholics so that they could get straightened out and live successful spiritual lives. In the language of A.A.‘s own Big Book text, the recovered pioneers were said to have become happy, joyous, and free. They had conceded to their innermost selves that they were alcoholic and could not manage their own lives; that probably no human power could relieve them, and that--when God had been sought and they had established a relationship with Him--God could and would do, and had done, for them what they could not do for themselves. They vociferously declared that they had been cured by the power of God; that the Creator had healed them of their terrible malady; and that they had unselfishly been moved to witness to others precisely how this miracle of recovery had been accomplished.
Consider dropping a donation in the box.
FAIRBANKS MUSEUM AND PLANETARIUM: Cross Main Street to the impressive Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, donated to the Town of St. Johnsbury by Colonel Franklin Fairbanks, and containing substantial historical archives, diaries, and records.
Snap a photo.
Visit the museum.
Make an appointment, if desired, to view the historical records in their archives.
THE ST. JOHNSBURY ATHENAEUM: Walk south to 1171 Main Street to the magnificent St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, a library for the town and for St. Johnsbury Academy “scholars” (i.e., students). Built in the Second Empire style, the Athenaeum was a gift to the town from Governor Horace Fairbanks in 1871. It contains a treasure trove of books, manuscripts, photos, papers, and other historical materials. Researchers and historians, as well those in recovery, can--as we did--spend hours and hours in the comfortable library amidst its well-stocked shelves and stacks.
Snap a photo of yourself and the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
Be sure to visit the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. Utilize the available help from the library staff, indexes, computers, and copy facilities. There are comfortable chairs, adequate rest rooms, water fountains, and newspapers.
Consider dropping a donation in the box.
Spend substantial time reviewing the history of the Green Mountain state and the sons and daughters of Vermont. Examine the history of St. Johnsbury, the extensive role of the Fairbanks family in community affairs, the immense economic blessings emanating from the invention of the platform scale by Thaddeus Fairbanks and the long-lasting success of the Fairbanks Scales business. Look through the town directories which tell the story, year by year, of the Smith family’s great involvement in the affairs of the community. Search the Smith family genealogy; the activities of North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, and the town’s other churches; Congregationalism in Vermont; the YMCA in Vermont; the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury; the Christian Endeavor Society in St. Johnsbury and in Vermont; Temperance activities; and the role of women (including Mrs. Walter P. Smith) in domestic missionary work, women’s clubs, local and traveling libraries, Temperance, and the St. Johnsbury Academy.
View on the microfilm reader the complete newspaper accounts of Dr. Bob’s boyhood days in St. Johnsbury in the St. Johnsbury Caledonian (town newspaper), which is today known as the Caledonian-Record.
See the genealogies, biographies, and historical activities of the important sons of Vermont.
THE FORMER SITE OF THE ST. JOHNSBURY YMCA BUILDING (destroyed by fire in 1984 and then demolished), Eastern Avenue.
Rev. Henry Fairbanks donated the YMCA building which was constructed in 1885 and located just off Main Street at 113 Eastern Avenue (until it was destroyed by fire in 1984). Prior to the erection of the building, the state Executive Committee of the Vermont YMCA had conducted Gospel “canvasses” in St. Johnsbury (and throughout Vermont for several years beginning in 1875) and--through the work of lay evangelists--catalyzed the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury itself through “Gospel Meetings” which built on the prayers for revival and “union meetings” of the local churches of several denominations in St. Johnsbury. Even the Fairbanks Scales plant was opened at noon time for prayer meetings. Hundreds were converted to Christ during this revival work. At least one report made at the national YMCA Convention in Richmond, Virginia, in 1875, placed the number of decisions for Christ at 1,500--almost one-third of the town population. And YMCA people continued the evangelical work for some time after 1875.
Dr. Bob’s father, Judge Walter P. Smith, was president of the St. Johnsbury YMCA in 1895 and 1897. Fairbanks family members were leaders in its evangelical work, beginning no later than the annual State of Vermont YMCA Convention held in Norwich in November of 1874.
The YMCA provided Bible classes, Bible studies, Bible conversation classes, and meetings for young men. It conducted lectures, concerts, and other events in the churches and at St. Johnsbury Academy. It provided gym facilities for young men; and it worked in close cooperation with St. Johnsbury Academy, running regular advertisements in the student newspaper.
THE COURT HOUSE, Main Street, and Judge Walter P. Smith (Bob’s father)
Just across the street from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is the court house where Dr. Bob’s father, Walter Perrin Smith, served many successive elected terms as Probate Judge handling the settling of estates and probate of wills. The Judge is also frequently listed and recorded among the community lawyers. He served as a town agent and village auditor; superintendent of schools; State’s attorney; and representative for St. Johnsbury in the Vermont Legislature. At the North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, he was a Sunday school teacher for many years, a Sunday school superintendent, and a Deacon. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he taught in schools and served as Principal of Hardwick Academy. He served St. Johnsbury Academy as one of its examiners. The Judge was long involved in the local banking system as an investor, director, trustee, and officer in three of the town’s banks--Merchants National, Passumpsic Savings, and First National. He became President of Carrick Brothers Granite Company. He was a widely sought-after speaker at political events, a Republican, and a well-known Congregationalist.
ST. JOHNSBURY ACADEMY, 1000 Main Street (Mrs. Walter Smith and Bob himself)
Dominating the south end of Main Street is the campus of St. Johnsbury Academy, which was founded by the three Fairbanks brothers--Thaddeus, Erastus, and Joseph P. The details of this unusual facility can best be learned by making an appointment in advance to visit with the Academy archivist, (formerly Joanne Bertrand), who works at the Grace Orcutt Library on campus.
Snap several photos of yourself, of the Academy buildings, and of South Church next door where daily chapel was often held.
Located in the archives are many of the founding papers requiring religious training and Bible study. Academy governing papers required that trustees be members of a Congregational Church, that “scholars” attend Daily Chapel where there were Scripture readings, sermons, exhortations, prayers, and singing. All scholars were duty-bound to attend a church service and a Bible study once each week.
Important archival and library papers include school catalogs showing the textbooks, curricula, trustees, Principal, staff, teachers, and scholars in attendance. There are histories of the Academy (at least one of which was partially prepared by Mrs. Walter P. Smith), attendance cards for Bob and, earlier, his mother; photographs of Dr. Bob and of his graduating class; Dr. Bob’s commencement program which names him as Orator; accounts of Bob’s activities as Manager and member of the Glee Club; Dr. Bob’s participation in debates, a fraternity, and class offices; class notes about Dr. Bob; and many copies of the student newspaper (both at the Academy and at the Athenaeum). Papers also show Bob’s mother as an Academy student, then an Academy teacher, then an active member of the Alumni Executive Committee, presenter of a large portion of the school’s history at major celebrations, and author of two chapters of a book on the history of the Academy.
Robert Holbrook Smith (A.A.’s Dr. Bob)--who was born August 8, 1879, in the family home at 20 Summer Street in St. Johnsbury--is listed as a member and Sunday school scholar at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury. He himself wrote that he was active in the Christian Endeavor Society of North Congregational Church. He wrote, and records confirm, that he and his family regularly attended Sunday morning service, Sunday school, and Sunday evening service, as well as the Christian Endeavor meeting. Frequently, Bob attended the church prayer meeting on Wednesday and regularly attended Christian Endeavor meetings on Wednesday. He attended the local Summer Street School and was later a scholar at St. Johnsbury Academy from 1894 to 1898 (at which time he graduated). He attended and graduated from Dartmouth. And he received medical training at the University of Michigan and at Rush. He later received specialist training as a proctologist and practiced medicine in Akron, Ohio. Plagued with alcoholism since college days, he prayed for recovery with a small group of Christians at the home of inventor T. Henry Williams in Akron. Shortly after he thus sought God’s help, he attained sobriety. The date was June 10, 1935, regarded as the founding day of A.A. by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson of New York. From that date on, Dr. Bob personally helped over 5,000 drunks to recover, without charge to the drunk. This selfless service led A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson to dub Dr. Bob the “Prince of all Twelfth Steppers.” Dr. Bob had met Anne Robinson Ripley (his wife-to-be) at a St. Johnsbury Academy dance. He later married her at her home in Illinois and settled in the family home at 855 Ardmore Avenue in Akron where A.A. is said to have been founded. Anne Smith died first; Dr. Bob died shortly thereafter; and the two are buried in Akron. Both Dr. Bob and his wife were deeply committed to serving the Creator; were devout Christians; and were strong believers in Bible study, prayer, and seeking God’s guidance. Both widely read, recommended, and distributed Christian literature to early A.A. pioneers. And Dr. Bob assured newcomers to A.A. that--if they went to any lengths to establish their relationship with God, accept Christ, follow his teachings, abstain from drinking and temptation, diligently seek God’s help, and witness in love and service to newcomers in recovery: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 181).
The “excellent training” Dr. Bob had received in the “Good Book” as a youngster in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, provided the foundation for the “absolutely essential” Bible-basics of the early A.A. program. That original program achieved a documented, 75% success rate in Akron [and was followed up by the documented, 93% success rate in Cleveland (under Dr. Bob’s sponsee, Clarence Snyder)] among seemingly-hopeless, medically-incurable, real alcoholics who went to any lengths to be cured. He declared that A.A.’s basic ideas came from the Bible study done by the A.A. pioneers--particularly in the Book of James, in the Sermon on the Mount, and in 1 Corinthians 13.
Dr. Bob’s mother, Mrs. Walter P. Smith (Susan Holbrook Smith--born Susan Amanda Holbrook), can--in the alumni, faculty, and other library records of St. Johnsbury Academy, in St. Johnsbury Athenaeum records, in women’s affairs records, in St. Johnsbury Caledonian newspaper articles, and in missionary records--be seen as very much involved in: (1) church service, (2) Sunday school service, (3) the Vermont Domestic Missionary Society, (4) libraries, (5) education, (6) Temperance activities, and (7) music. She was also involved in St. Johnsbury community affairs through other teaching and other religious activities, and through other Academy-related activities. Susan attended St. Johnsbury Academy and graduated from it in 1874. She then taught at St. Johnsbury Academy from 1874 to 1876. She and Judge Smith were married shortly thereafter after. Based on our intensive research over the past eight months, it seems very likely that both of Dr. Bob’s parents were impacted by the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury. Both were listed in North Congregational Church records in beginning in 1878 and became members in 1882. In the church, Mrs. Smith served as Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, Intermediate Department superintendent, president of the Women’s Club, editor of its cook book volume, member of the Vermont Domestic Missionary Society, and participant in the church quartet. She is listed as a participant in the Women‘s Christian Temperance Union. Through her activity with the International Women’s Clubs and the St. Johnsbury Women’s Club, she was singled out as the well-known and tireless worker for the free state library facilities in rural communities. She became a member of the State Library Commission.
See Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010
Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Bible as a Youngster in Vermont
Dick B. and Ken B., “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” Class
Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808 874 4876;;;
Gloria Deo

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My Agenda of Service for 2011 - by Dick B.

What can a sober, recovered alcoholic who is approaching his 25th year of continuous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous do to serve and glorify God, as well as to help others, as he also approaches his 86th birthday? First, thank God in the name of Jesus Christ for the abundant and eternal life made available to all who believe. And then,

Answer: Lots! And here's my agenda for 2011. In fact, it involves more activity in Alcoholics Anonymous, in the recovery movement, and in Christian service than ever before. And here are some of the agenda items for 2011:

1. To continue to receive and reply to all courteous inquiries that come across my bow via email, phone, U.S. mail, and the vast resource of the internet.

2. To continue to learn from these inquiries what the degree of hunger is, what the degree of understanding is, and what the degree of willingness to go to any lengths is--among those suffering from alcoholism, addiction to drugs, at-risk and self-destructive behaviors, and other life-controlling problems. And among those who are harmed by the behavior involved in such activities.

3. To continue urging more participants to join the International Christian Recovery Coalition and help stress the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible have played in the recovery movement for dozens and dozens of years, and can play today among those who want God's help and are willing to make the effort to do what it takes to seek and receive it.

4. To continue expansion of Christian Recovery Resource Centers worldwide--this being a project of the International Christian Recovery Coalition, and being a program to enable Christian leaders and other Christians seeking recovery to find out what Christian recovery resources are available, where they are located, which options are most desirable, and whom to contact.

5. To continue writing books and articles and giving recorded talks at Christian recovery fellowships, churches, 12-Step meetings, treatment programs, counseling conventions, conferences, and groups desiring to help other alcoholics and addicts to recover with God's help.

6. To continue researching, reporting, and disseminating information about the origins, history, founding, Original program, astonishing successes, and later changes in the Akron Alcoholics Anonymous Christian Fellowship founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in June, 1935.

7. To continue stressing that those in counseling, treatment, fellowships, churches, groups, and centers have every right to seek God, to come to Him through Jesus Christ, to study the Bible, to pray individually and together, to seek God's guidance, and to carry the Gospel message to any and all who might wish to be delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear son.

8. To enjoy the sunshine, the weather, the ocean, the beauty, the scenic views, the beautiful flowers and trees, and the opportunity to swim on the Island of Maui in the State of Hawaii.

9. To wish all who read this a healthy and prosperous New Year and life, based on the promise of 3 John 2.;;

Origins of the Christian Recovery Movement by Dick B.

Origins of the Christian Recovery Movement
Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Effective Christian Help for Drunks by Five Important Groups & Organizations in the 1800’s—long before A.A. was founded in 1935

Young Men’s Christian Association lay workers (1870). Non-denominational work
in revival meetings with conversions and Bible studies. Galvanized the Great
Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury. (Bob and Bill both had “Y” connections).

The Gospel Rescue Missions (1872) exemplified by Jerry McAuley and the Water Street
Mission in NY, NY – followed by Calvary Rescue Mission where Bill and Ebby
each separately made their decisions for Jesus Christ.

Evangelists and Revivalists (1875) Charles Finney, John B. Gough, Dwight Moody, Ira
Sankey, F. B. Meyer, Allen Folger, and Bill Sunday held huge meetings where
thousands were converted to God through Jesus Christ, and many were healed of drunkenness. Bob and Bill were each aware of them and/or exposed to their work.

The Salvation Army (1879) – made famous by Harold Begbie’s Twice-Born Men –went
into the slums to find derelicts, criminals, drunks; bring them to Jesus Christ;
teach them the Bible; changing their lives; and passing it on in “God’s Army.”

The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor (1881) – Dr. Bob and his church
active in 1890’s; world—wide membership of 4.5 million, developed a program of conversion meetings, prayer meetings, Bible studies, Quiet Hour, topical discussions, and the slogan “love and service.” A pattern for early Akron A.A.

The Christian upbringing of A.A.’s founders-to-be as youngsters in Vermont

Bill Wilson: Grandfather cured of alcoholism by conversion and spiritual experience;
attended East Dorset Congregational Church and Sunday School where his
parents and grandparents were active; studied the Bible with his grandfather
and a friend; at Burr & Burton Academy—took a four-year Bible study course,
attended chapel daily, Manchester Congregational Church weekly, and became
president of the school YMCA, with his girl friend as president of school YWCA.

Dr. Bob Smith: Judge Walter and Susan H. Smith, his parents, were Congregationalists
who emphasized salvation and the Word of God in their home; were Sunday
school teachers and superintendents at North Congregational Church; were active in the church—Judge Smith being a deacon; and the entire Smith family attending church three times on Sunday, a prayer meeting on Wednesday, and Dr. Bob active in Christian Endeavor. Judge Smith was president of the local YMCA which made presentations in the church and St. Johnsbury Academy; and Dr. Bob attended St. Johnsbury Academy where he took religious courses; his mother had been a student and teacher; his father was an Examiner; and he attended required daily chapel, a weekly Congregational Church Service, and weekly Bible study.

Turning to God through Jesus Christ major points in the lives of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob

Bill Wilson: (1) Grandfather saved and healed for life of alcoholism. (2) Bill had a
Christian upbringing at the East Dorset Congregational Church and at its Sunday School, and then at the Manchester Congregational Church, and Bill’s daily chapel and Bible studies at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester. (3) Dr. Silkworth advised Bill that Jesus Christ the Great Physician could cure him. (4) Bill’s friend Ebby made a decision for Jesus Christ at the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission and so informed Bill. (5) Ebby’s “mentor” Rowland Hazard had previously made a decision for Christ. (6) Bill himself went to Calvary Rescue Mission, made his own decision for Jesus Christ, and wrote that he was born again for sure. (7) Bill turned to God for help in Towns Hospital, had his famous “white light” experience, believed he had been in the presence of “the God of the Scriptures,” (8) Bill began carrying the message quoted today on page 191 of the Big Book that the Lord had been so wonderful to him curing him of his terrible disease that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people. (9) Bill began feverish witnessing with a Bible under his arm, but was unable to get a single person sober until he met Dr. Bob in Akron about 6 months later.

Dr. Bob Smith: (1) Raised a Christian in North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury,
its Sunday school, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and Christian Endeavor group, and was exposed to Christian temperance meetings. (2) Finally joined a tiny Oxford Group meeting devoted to helping him get sober. (3) Admitted to the group he was a “secret drinker” (4) Joined the group on the carpet in prayers for his deliverance. (5) Was surprisingly introduced to the stranger Bill Wilson as an answer to the prayers. (6) Grasped the importance of service—helping others—as an element of recovery he himself had not applied. (7) After one last binge, decided to quit for good about June 10, 1935, and A.A. was founded about that date.

The first A.A. Group—Akron Number One—which Dr. Bob called a “Christian Fellowship”—was founded on July 4, 1935—several weeks after A.A. itself began.

Bill and Bob told a third alcoholic—Bill Dotson--that he could be cured if he turned to God for help and then helped others. Dotson—long a Christian--then surrendered to God, was cured almost at once; and the three set about developing a program for others in the summer of 1935. Akron Number One!

Three things to remember about the original program and the program today:

1. The Original program had no Twelve Steps, no Twelve Traditions, no drunkalogs, no meetings as we know them today, and no basic text like the Big Book. It took its basic ideas from the Bible—the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. It held daily fellowships in the homes. It insisted that members believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior; study the Bible, pray together, hold Quiet Times, and help other alcoholics get well. By November of 1937, Bill and Bob counted noses and found they had achieved an astonishing, documented, 75% success rate.

2. A.A. is no longer a Christian Fellowship. It opened its doors to atheists and agnostics in 1939 with the Big Book’s publication. But today there are still tens if not hundreds of thousands of Christians in A.A. and other 12 Step groups who often hear they cannot mention Jesus Christ, they cannot study the Bible, they cannot have prayer meetings, and that they are not a religious organization—allegedly “spiritual, but not religious.”.

3. The simple abc’s in the Big Book today are as viable as they were in 1935. And AAs are free to say what they wish, believe what they wish, read what they wish, worship where they wish, and tell their stories of deliverance by God whenever they wish. They can do this because their own history shows them they can and suggests how to do it. And their own Big Book and Twelve Steps are replete with words, phrases, and ideas that make clear that trust in God, cleaning house, and serving God and others are a very important part of A..A. to this very day.

In Conclusion:

I will close by assuring you that after 24 years of continuous sobriety and 20 years of researching and learning the history of the Christian Recovery Movement as well as that of A.A. itself, I can truly tell you that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.

And I believe, as Dr. Bob wrote, at the end of his personal story: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” The simple conditions for Dr. Bob were that you believe in God; you accept His Son Jesus Christ as Lord; you obey Him; you grow in spiritual
understanding and fellowship with God, His Son, and other believers. And you help others do likewise.

There’s a miracle waiting for those that do these things, and even Bill Wilson himself spoke of it in those terms.,,, 808 874 4876

Gloria Deo